An emerging skateboarding fad known as “bombing” has caused one law to be implemented and another one being proposed following the deaths of two teens.
“Bombing” is a new trend in which skateboarders take off at the top of a hill and rush down, up to 40 MPH. The danger of this is that the hills are often busy streets, where drivers are usually unaware of the daredevils.
City Councilman Joe Buscaino proposed two new laws to deter “bombing” in his district.
Buscaino has recently proposed a law that would now require every skateboarder to not only follow speed limits and stop at stop signs, but also follow the same laws that bikers are subjected to.
“This new ordinance will make skateboarders go with the flow of traffic, stay to the right hand side of cars and wear a helmet,” said Honorary Mayor of San Pedro Dave Martinez.
The fist law Buscaino proposed tried to ban “bombing” altogether. This law failed to get passed because it was deemed too constricting.
The second proposed law would require skateboarders to stop at stop signs and obey the speed limits. It would also ban skateboarders from being towed by cars. This law would also allow police to fine anyone skateboarding without a helmet or disregarding any traffic sings up to $250.
This law was passed, and is now being implemented in all areas of Los Angeles, especially in the San Pedro area where “bombing” runs rampant and has become deadly.
“Skateboarding is still allowed in the city of Los Angeles, but kids should do it in a safe way” said Buscaino. “Now they have to follow road rules and that, hopefully, will be the factor that can help save lives."
Michael Borojevich, who was only 14, died after a sustaining a skateboarding injury and, Caleb Daniel Simpson, 15, was killed while skating down a hill. Both Borojevich and Simpson were “bombing” before they received their fatal injuries.
“The death of these children should be a wake up call for other kids. This new adrenaline booster is not worth the cost,” said Cesar Flores, a San Pedro resident. “I live on a street with a huge hill and kids are constantly skating down the street. I almost hit a boy the other day while making a right turn up my street.”
Stories of near-hits are now commonplace in the city of San Pedro and the local authorities have been seen citing “bombers” and handing out fliers, designed by the city council, warning them about the new laws.
“These kids are risking their lives. Maybe now, with the new law, the kids will be deterred form doing something that could ruin, or end their lives,” said LAPD Officer Alex Calandrino. “I get called to hilly neighborhoods almost everyday. People are sacred that one day they are going to hit one of these kids and kill them.”
Calandrino also said that, before the new skateboarding laws, it was difficult to penalize the “bombers” because the old laws were outdated.
“The old skateboarding laws never addressed [bombing] because it wasn’t around before; previously skate boarding laws only dealt with private property, not public streets. Now it will be easier to crack down on the dangerous thing these kids are doing.”
The laws seem to be accepted by most people in the neighborhood of San Pedro but the teenage “bombers” have different viewpoints.
Bryan Ramirez, a sophomore at San Pedro High School, said the laws on skateboarding are becoming too constricting and that he should be able to skateboard on the streets without fines.
“I was skating home from school a couple days ago and I flew through an intersection, which had a green light, and got stopped by some cops. They told me I was going faster than the legal speed limit for skateboarding,” said Ramirez. “If I’m going slower than almost all other traffic on the street I should not get a ticket. It’s stupid and unfair.”
Ramirez, along with other “bombers,” are having trouble adjusting to the new law, and fear what may come next from city council.
Some of the illegal skaters have taken up another illegal activity to get their message across: tagging. All around San Pedro graffiti can bee seen that says “SKATEBOARDING IS NOT A CRIME.” The tagged slogan has become common in neighborhoods with large, paved hills, and just adds fuel to the anti bombing movement.
“Before the laws this tag wasn’t seen, but now it’s just a new concern that has risen in regards to the bombers,” said Calandrino.